The Medium is the Message…
USSS of CCCC — United States Socialist Science of Climate Change Contention and Consensus
After sacrificing our quaint notions of right v. wrong on the altar of political correctness, intellectual convenience and moral indifference, society is increasingly guided by average truths. Common understanding becomes a meaningless average of the everyday humdrum of average scientists, journalists, politicians, personalities and others. Hazy, lazy media-makers force bipolar ideas to grip and claw together in a dance on a tightrope.
Rather than a delicate balance of equal opposites, what journalists report on the scientific debate about global warming becomes an unwitting and valueless smearing of contention and consensus. The common understanding becomes a maceration of pride and prejudice, like pounded cakes of delicate icy fish filets and pungent sun baked fish skins.
When sampled, “from the extreme ends of the spectrum of opinions,” competing claims “often get disproportionate time as either/or options,” according Stephen Schneider and Michael Mastrandrea (authors of the essay, The Politics of Climate Science). “What needs to be conveyed to the public is the relative credibility of each claim. The political balance model often results in well-established conclusions given equal weight in a story with speculative ones, resulting in public confusion regarding both scientific knowledge and appropriate societal responses,” and this is something the authors believe that, “everyone interested in climate change and public policy needs to understand.”
Let’s Grade the Media
Are journalists guilty of incompetent reporting? You be the judge. Do you trust the media or has their reputation for truth and honesty become more like what you expect from the government? Let’s invest a little time and look at just a part of a case recently filed against the EPA that will be important to the economy and to the future of liberty and freedom in America. We do not need to bother figuring out how the Supreme Court justices will rule on the matter. We have something more important to consider (perhaps a real eye-opener). This will take a while because we need to compare the reality of this case — publicly available for all to see — to the media’s reporting of it as you read and hear about it over the next six months. The part below is taken verbatim from the brief by the Attorneys for Amici Curiae Scientists (see, Amicus brief) in Support of the Petitions for Certiorari before the U.S. Supreme Court in the matter of Southeastern Legal Foundation, Inc., et al., Petitioners, v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., as follows:
I. THE CONCLUSION THAT EPA DREW FROM ITS THREE LINES OF EVIDENCE IS DEMONSTRABLY INVALID.
EPA grounded its controversial near-certain conclusion that manmade GHG emissions contributed to observed warming in the latter half of the twentieth century on three “lines of evidence” in the administrative record: (1) a “basic physical understanding” of the impacts of various changes—both natural and manmade—on the climate system, (2) historical estimates allegedly suggesting that recent changes in global surface temperature are unusual, (3) and computer-based models simulating the climate’s likely response to various forcing mechanisms. 74 Fed. Reg. 66518 (2009).
Not one of these lines, however, supports EPA’s ultimate conclusion, much less the degree of certainty asserted by EPA. The significance of the flaws in the bases for EPAs contentions should not be understated. EPA’s expansive GHG regulation program is unprecedented by any agency regulatory program in size and scope. Because evidence EPA had available to it contradicts EPA’s ultimate conclusion, its corresponding sweeping actions are arbitrary and capricious.
In the view of many scientists, including amici, there is ample evidence that EPA’s Endangerment Finding is grossly flawed. In its finding, EPA relied on the claim by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of 90-99% certainty that observed warming in the latter half of the twentieth century resulted from human activity. See id. & n.22. EPA bases its Endangerment Finding on three “lines of evidence.” 74 Fed. Reg. 66518. But, using the most credible empirical data available, each of EPA’s three lines of evidence should be soundly rejected.
EPA’s purported three lines of evidence are summarized below:
1. The first line of evidence is EPA’s “basic physical understanding of the effects of changing concentrations of greenhouse gases, natural factors, and other human impacts on the climate system.” Ibid. EPA is here referring to its GHG Fingerprint (or Hot Spot) Theory, which is that, in the Tropics, the upper troposphere is warming faster than the lower troposphere and the lower is warming faster than the surface, all due to rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations blocking heat transfer into outer space. By this mechanism, increasing CO2 is assumed to increase surface temperatures.
2. The second line of evidence consists of “indirect, historical estimates of past climate changes that suggest that the changes in global surface temperature over the last several decades are unusual.” Ibid. This line of evidence refers to EPA’s claim that GAST has been rising in a dangerous fashion over the last fifty years. Ibid.
3. EPA referenced as its third line of evidence the the “use of computer-based climate models to simulate the likely patterns of response of the climate system to different forcing mechanisms (both natural and anthropogenic).” Ibid. Those climate models assume that CO2 is a key determinant of climate change, and EPA’s conclusions rely on such models to provide forecasts of future temperature conditions that are adequate for regulatory policy analysis.
In fact, however, highly credible empirical temperature data facts, readily available to EPA prior to its endangerment finding invalidate each line of evidence. And temperature data that is now available for the years 2009-2012 further confirms that each line of evidence was invalid.
A. First Line Of Evidence: EPA’s GHG Fingerprint (Or Hot Spot) Theory
The GHG Fingerprint (or Hot Spot) Theory is that in the Tropics, the upper troposphere is warming faster than the lower troposphere, and the lower troposphere is warming faster than the surface, all due to rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations. See 74 Fed. Reg. 66522 (2009); Brief of Amici Curiae Scientists in Support of Petitioners Supporting Reversal, at 28-29, Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc. v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 09-1322 (CADC June 8, 2011), ECF No. 1312291; see also U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research, Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences, at 112-116 (Apr. 2006), available at Here. That theory is totally at odds with multiple robust, consistent, independently derived empirical data sets that show no statistically significant positive (or negative) trend in temperature and thus no statistically significant differences in trend line slopes by altitude. Brief of Amici Curiae Scientists in Support of Petitioners Supporting Reversal, at 30-34, Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc. v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 09-1322 (CADC June 8, 2011), ECF No. 1312291.
For example, balloon data from the Met Office Hadley Centre (Figure 1a), satellite data regarding temperature in the tropical troposphere from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) (Figure 1b), and central Pacific Ocean tropical temperature data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (Figure 2) are shown below. None of the three has a statistically significant trend line slope. That is, their trend lines are all flat. All temperature data are shown as “anomalies,” where anomalies are computed by subtracting a base period average from actual annual temperature values, both measured in degrees Celsius.
Figure 1a, see Met Office, Global Means Anomaly Series, available at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadat/hadat2/hadat2_monthly_global_mean.txt (last visited May 17, 2013) (Tropical Atmospheric Temperature Anomalies Hadley Balloon Data: 200 hPa, 12 km, Degrees C).
Figure 1b, see National Space Sci. & Tech. Ctr., Monthly Means of Mid-Troposphere MT5.5, available at http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2/tmtglhmam_5.5.txt (last visited May 17, 2013) (Tropical Atmospheric Temperature Anomalies UAH Satellite Data: Surface to 18 km, Degrees C).
Figure 2, see National Weather Ctr. Climate Prediction Ctr., Tropical Center Pacific Ocean Temperature Anomalies NOAA Buoy Data: NINO 3.4, Degrees C, available at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/data/indices/ersst3b.nino.mth.81-10.ascii (last visited May 17, 2013).
All three figures above show data through the most recent period available, 2012. In December 2009, when EPA issued its Endangerment Finding, the trends in all three were also flat based on annual data through 2008. The more recent data simply reconfirms those three flat trend facts. For EPA’s assumed theory to be valid, all three temperature trend lines would have to be upward sloping, but with the Upper Troposphere Trend Line (Figure 1a) steeper than the Mid-troposphere Trend Line (Figure 1b), and that trend line steeper than the Pacific Ocean Temperature Trend Line (Figure 2).
There is no longer any doubt that the purported tropical “hot spot” simply does not exist. Thus, EPA’s theory as to how CO2 affects GAST—EPA’s first line of evidence—must be rejected.
B. Second Line Of Evidence: The Purported Unusual Rise In GAST
EPA’s second line of evidence is its claim that GAST has been rising in a dangerous fashion over the last fifty years. 74 Fed. Reg. 66518 (2009). EPA goes on to conclude that the alleged rise was in large part due to human-caused increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. But the purported “global warming” has not been global and has not set records in the regions where the most significant warming has occurred. For example, over the relevant time period, while…
He saw with open eye the mystery of the soul. Drawn by its severe harmony, ravished with its beauty, he lived in it, and had his being there. Alone in all history, he estimated the greatness of man. One man was true to what is in you and me. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson